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Rogue River Basin nearly full for first time in three years

Lost Creek Lake, which is served by the Rogue River Basin, is currently 99% full.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Lost Creek Lake, which is served by the Rogue River Basin, is currently 99% full.

There's good news for the Rogue River Basin this summer. Late-season snow and recent rain mean that the basin’s two reservoirs are nearly full.

The Rogue River Basin system, which includes Applegate and Lost Creek Lakes, is at 97% capacity. The last time the system was that full was in 2019.

"It's a good news story. Pretty much everyone who depends on water from those reservoirs is going to have the water that they need, even recreation," said Chris Gaylord, a public affairs specialist with the Portland District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The water in the Rogue River Basin is used for irrigation and fish habitat.

"Even as we were heading into the end of April, things were looking really grim. It was looking like one of, if not the, worst water years in the history of these reservoirs. And things have really turned around and are better than they were last year or the year before," Gaylord said.

Meanwhile, some other reservoirs in the Rogue Valley are still well below normal going into summer. The nearby Talent Irrigation District's Emigrant Lake is at 38% capacity. And Hyatt Reservoir in the Cascade Mountains outside Ashland is just 11% full.

Jane Vaughan is a regional reporter for Jefferson Public Radio. Jane began her journalism career as a reporter for a community newspaper in Portland, Maine. She's been a producer at New Hampshire Public Radio and worked on WNYC's On The Media.